Israeli Minister Delays Police Commissioner Pick Over Threat of New Election

Public Security Minister Amir Ohana says he will wait for outcome of budget crisis between Likud and Kahol Lavan that threatens send Israel to another election

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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Public Security Minister Amir Ohana speaks at a press conference, August 16, 2020.
Public Security Minister Amir Ohana speaks at a press conference, August 16, 2020.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

Public Security Minister Amir Ohana said Tuesday that he would hold off choosing the next police commissioner until it becomes clear whether Israel’s budget crisis will be resolved or the country will go to a new election.

Ohana denied that the appointment is part of negotiations between Likud and Kahol Lavan in an interview with Army Radio. He asserted that he alone would decide on the matter.

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"This month, there have been several… let’s say political developments, and I want to see the situation stabilize before deciding,” Ohana said. “I hope it will happen in the coming days. If we go to an election, and I really hope we don’t, then there is a question whether or not it is appropriate to appoint a police commissioner during an election campaign."

The minister said: “The entire matter of selecting the police commissioner is handled in one place – in my head. I don’t consult on this issue with anyone.” He added, “The right thing to do is to postpone my decision … until we see what’s been agreed upon.”

Ohana has not disclosed the identity of any of his candidates for the top job, but sources familiar with the situation mention six prominent names, two of whom are retired commanders. Police officials and former senior officers who have spoken with the minster recently have the impression that he decided to stage a confrontation with members of the committee that advises on senior appointments, headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Eliezer Goldberg, in a bid to abolish it.